How To Test Air Quality in Office Spaces | Step-By-Step

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How To Test Air Quality in Office in 6 Steps

Testing air quality in an office space requires setting goals, choosing effective equipment, interpreting data, and taking action. Ultimately, this process is best accomplished with a robust IoT sensor network that collects and processes real-time data. 


How confident are you in your ability to test air quality in office spaces? Estimates show that around 30% of buildings suffer from Sick Building Syndrome due to poor indoor air quality, resulting in a slew of adverse health effects. 

Detecting contaminated air isn't always easy. Certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, and mold from poor ventilation are all difficult-to-detect sources of poor indoor air quality. So, to know if your building contains dangerous pollutants, it's critical to run routine testing. 

Below, we'll dive into how you can test for indoor air pollutants. Then, we'll explain how a high-tech air monitoring system is necessary to preserve employee health and prevent building damage. 

Why You Should Test Air Quality in Your Office

Prolonged exposure to poor air quality often yields devastating health effects on occupants, including respiratory illness, heart disease, asthma, and even cancer. 

Testing indoor air quality is the only way to confirm if harmful airborne particles are present, which allows building managers to take necessary action. 

Running tests can also help reduce building costs and repairs. Testing air quality routinely helps detect pollution sources early. For example, mold growth occurs in damp, poorly ventilated areas. Testing for mold identifies the presence, allowing owners to address the cause and avoid the cost of a widespread wold infestation or water damage. 

Steps To Test Air Quality in Your Office Space

How do you recognize the symptoms of bad air quality? Certain symptoms, like a foul stench, are easy to identify. However, often, pollutant sources like CO2 or Radon are impossible to detect with human senses. For this reason, managers of commercial buildings must know how to conduct thorough air quality inspections. 

Here's how to test office air quality in six steps. 

1. Identify Testing Goals

Before testing, define what you're testing for. If unsure, start by familiarizing yourself with the latest indoor air quality standards for office buildings. Remember, it's essential to set guard rails around testing. Even if you're conducting a general test, still identify what you plan to test for and your desired outcome.

If you suspect a specific type of contaminant, such as testing for humidity levels, build a plan around how you plan to carry out that specific test. Then, build a plan of how you'll immediately address the problem if tests confirm a humidity issue. 

2. Select Appropriate Air Quality Parameters

After understanding which tests to run, ensure you understand the difference between good and bad air quality. 

Always use quantifiable measurements when administering tests. Here are a few important parameters to know:

3. Choose the Right Monitoring Equipment

Depending on your goals, pick out the proper methods for gathering data. 

For example, if you test for mold, research the different tests and implications of each specific test. Certain mold tests require you to send samples to a lab, while others allow you to do that yourself. Lab results take longer but are more accurate, while home tests give rapid results but come with a greater chance of false positives. 

4. Collect and Analyze Data

With the right equipment in tow, you can begin testing. Always ensure you collect enough data to paint a detailed picture.

For example, detecting formaldehyde requires obtaining samples throughout an office. Then, you understand the origins in greater detail if you find out levels are higher on a specific floor. This result might indicate the presence of harmful building materials or chemicals. 

5. Interpret the Results

There are a few essential things to remember when understanding indoor air quality results. 

First, data isn't always clear. Particular floors or sections of a building might have significantly higher levels of poor indoor air quality. From there, it takes some sleuthing to understand why tests show that result. In some cases, it might be a specific piece of old equipment, like a printer, that's giving off excessive VOCs. Or it could be an infestation of rats or pests. 

Remember, in some cases, you may not be qualified to interpret the results. You may need to contact an HVAC professional to help understand your results and recommend a course of action. 

6. Take Action

Testing without taking action is a waste of time and money. 

Upon obtaining your results, strategize direct actions that immediately address the cause of your indoor air pollution. For example, if it's VOCs, switching to natural cleaning products or finding ways to ventilate the office space better should be an immediate course of action. If you find mold, call in a mold removal service and analyze the area for water leaks or poor ventilation. 

Even if you obtain clear results, take action to maintain HVAC systems, like changing the filter to ensure air quality doesn't degrade over time. 

Make Air Quality Testing Easy

You're likely familiar with the old saying, "Work smarter, not harder." Purchasing a robust indoor air quality monitoring system is great for ensuring that you stay on top of indoor air quality. Not only does scrupulous monitoring help prevent health risks, but it also reduces labor costs, as many great indoor air quality sensors completely eliminate the need for constant checking. 

But how do you know you're getting the best air quality monitor? The main traits to look for are a wide range of tracking metrics, continuous smart monitoring, and a sleek interface that's accessible remotely. 

Here's where we ask that you consider Attune Sensware's IoT. Our system is incredibly easy to set up, manage, and navigate to view critical data, helping your team test and identify potential sources of poor indoor air quality to prevent health risks and save costs.

When it comes to protecting your health, seeing is believing. So, we invite you to sign up for a demo today to see how it works.


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